County animal sanctuary receives $12,000 from NWR bottle drive

Sandy Raubenheimer of Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary [left] receives a cheque for $12019 from NWR Sturgeon Refinery. The monies will be used to feed animals this winter. – Submitted Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

A Sturgeon County animal sanctuary has an extra $12,000 to do its valuable work, thanks to the generosity of Northwest Redwater Partnership’s Sturgeon Refinery’s turnaround group. 

Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary received a cheque for $12,019 from NWR’s bottle drive fundraiser. 

The sanctuary started 20 years ago, in 2002, when Sandy Raubenheimer and her husband emigrated from South Africa, settling northwest of Edmonton in Riviere Qui Barre. 

For the past 19 years, the couple has been rescuing animals and using their sanctuary as a place where volunteers use animals as part of their healing process. 

Sandy Raubenheimer said she was happy to receive the donation. “A marvellous lady named Rachel Reis and her daughter recognized the work that we aspire to do at our charity,” Raubenheimer said. “It is because of her compassion that we received a recent donation of $12,019 from the folks at NWR. “

Morinville resident and logistics and ISBL coordinator for the turnaround group Rachel Reis told Morinville Online that NWR donates their bottle money to various organizations within Sturgeon County. 

“Because this was a turnaround event, I jumped on the chance to donate to this group,” Reis explained. “I wrote a letter stating why I wanted to nominate this group, and it was approved.”

It took just over four months to raise the money through bottle collections. Reis said all contractors involved with the refinery turnaround used the recycle bins set out for collection.  

Reis said she first heard about Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary through her child’s school when the school made a class trip. 

“One of my kids has been going every week since. It’s a place of hard work, acceptance, no judgment and feeling like you can make a difference,” she said. Feeding the animals makes you feel important in their life and “wanted. Seeing a smile when I pick them up at the end of their visit made it all worthwhile and a place I will be forever grateful for. 

Raubenheimer said the funds would be well used this winter.

“Because of their donation and generosity, we are now able to feed 33 horses and two donkeys over the winter months and will have the ability to care for an additional 75 plus animals that call our sanctuary home,” Raubenheimer said. “Our charity relies 100 per cent on donations, and it is because of companies like NWR that our animals have a fighting chance and, in turn, the opportunity for our youth to experience and grow through their time on the farm. We cannot express in words the magnitude of the impact their donation has made to our charity. We are humbled and grateful. 

Reis said the work Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary does is essential, and volunteers are critical.

“Without her volunteers, this place wouldn’t exist,” Reis said. “Sandy, the owner, is the hardest working lady I know. She relies on volunteers and spends a lot of her own money to make sure these animals don’t starve. Heart of gold.”

For more information about Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary, visit Out of Africa Animal Sanctuary on Facebook. 

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